Bon Appetit Has a Crush on Williamsburg

The May issue of Bon Appetit features a rather fawning article by Brett Martin on the Brooklyn food scene, particularly in the so-precious-it-hurts Williamsburg neighborhood. You probably don't need to read it. But if you want the general gist, we've done the work for you.

Not surprisingly, the article doesn't contain much information about actual food; instead, it's all about Brooklyn's "cool" factor. Martin calls it "the culinary traveler's latest name-drop destination" where "you won't find starving artists, but instead cultural creatives who eat awfully well."

In the writing of this piece, Martin was challenged to not use the word "hipster," but he declares that feat impossible, explaining: "Imagine that, unless I say otherwise, every space I describe is filled with young, beautiful people, all seemingly employed as models for the tattoo, ironic facial hair, and meticulously worn-in T-shirt industries." You don't get a comprehensive picture of the food scene, just a vague sense that Williamsburg's restaurants and grocery stores are all too cool for you.

Any of that make you want to pay a visit to Williamsburg? The May Bon Appetit is the Travel Issue, and ostensibly this article is aimed at people who don't live in New York. What was missing from the Williamsburg piece — what would have made it relevant, and where Martin failed to use the magazine feature format to his advantage — was an explanation as to why those of us outside of easy subway access should care.

Instead, Martin trips gleefully down Bedford Avenue, window shopping but rarely stopping; he glazes over the culinary institutions of Williamsburg in short, adoring bursts. The New York food blogs already have that hipster sycophancy covered, and we've been ignoring that static for years — wish Martin would've finally told us why it's worth paying attention. Absent that, ignore ignore ignore.

Paula

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